Featured Projects

Family Engagement and Trust (FEAT) Survey

The Jacobs Institute for Innovation in Education (JI) at the University of San Diego (USD) developed an open-access survey tool, the Family Engagement and Trust (FEAT) Survey, for schools and districts in California. The FEAT Survey is grounded in research (e.g. Bryk & Schneider, 2002) and was refined and validated through a longitudinal multi-cohort family engagement evaluation project. If you are a school/district administrator and interested in using this survey, please feel free to contact the JI for more support and resources that are available

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School Retool

The Jacobs Institute, IDEO and the Stanford d.school have embarked upon the expansion of School Retool, a professional learning fellowship that helps school leaders redesign school culture using small, scrappy experiments called 'hacks.' The Fellowship runs from January 25, 2018 through March 29, 2018 and includes in-person workshops, personal coaching, peer support, and lots of inspiration. More detailed information about the program can be found at www.schoolretool.org and in this Mindshift article.

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New Bedford Public Schools Tech Implementation

The Jacobs Institute has worked with New Bedford Public Schools (NBPS) since 2014 and has facilitated a major transformation to its teaching and learning process over four stages:

  • Stage 1 - Technology Review of all middle and high schools (2014-15)
  • Stage 2 - Infrastructure Updates and Math Pilot (2015-16)
  • Stage 3 - Expanded Math and ELA Deployment (2016-17)
  • Stage 4 - Full High School 1:1 (2017-18)

As a result, all New Bedford Public High Schools deployed a 1:1 strategy, have a 100 percent wireless environment, and implemented a centralized Learning Management System (LMS). Most notably, on October 23, 2017, the Massachusetts State on Public Secondary Schools Committee voted to award the school continued accreditation following the three-year turnaround plan. Additionally, both students and teachers overwhelmingly report a positive impact of the tech integration on their perceptions of student engagement.  Observations indicate that the tech integration is also having a positive impact on pedagogy with a movement toward more student-to-student collaboration and active learning based instruction.

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Perris Union High School District Partnership

During the 2016-2017 school year, The Jacobs Institute embarked on a partnership with the Perris Union High School District (PUHS) to build a district-wide, long-term vision. Completing a 360 Needs Assessment in August of 2016 to deeply understand the strengths and needs within the District, the results of this assessment allowed The Jacobs Institute Leadership and Profesional Learning Specialists to design a personalized scope of work that is focused on supporting pedagogical shifts in learning and teaching with powerful integration of technology.  The Jacobs Institute has additionally worked with the district’s executive leadership to design and implement systems to support the desired student outcomes. Our work is driven by the goal of equipping educators with the knowledge, skills and dispositions to create optimal learning experiences for students in PUHSD.

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The Monarch School

Beginning in 2016, The Jacobs Institute has partnered with The Monarch School to:

  • Create a Social Emotional Learning assessment and a corresponding “user experience” for teachers.  Our research associates and professional learning specialists worked closely with Monarch’s director of program evaluation to outline the metrics that can be utilized to measure student growth, which the Monarch School categorizes across three “ABC” areas: attendance, behavior, and classroom performance. Together with the director of program evaluation, we co-developed an assessment to gather information about student growth across the ABCs.
  • Support in the formation of an Institutional Review Board (IRB) and also with data collection, analysis and visualization.
  • Co-develop agendas for peer learning community meetings for the Monarch School staff to engage with the data and begin to discuss implications for their practice.
  • Refine the Monarch School’s ABCs and capture the corresponding data to better communicate Monarch’s success to stakeholders.

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Da Vinci Schools Extension Program Evaluation (funded by ECMC Foundation)

The Da Vinci Schools in Los Angeles, in partnership with UCLA Extension and Southern New Hampshire University, has created Da Vinci Extension (DVX), a unique post-secondary alternative that provides access to college coursework, one-to-one academic mentoring, and intensive internships for students who have struggled to succeed in traditional colleges and universities.  During the first full year of the program, researchers from the Jacobs Institute conducted an evaluation study of DVX’s program to assess its impact on students’ academic achievement, college and career goals, and self efficacy. The initial study showed that DVX had a significant positive impact on program participants.Particularly striking was the clearer vision toward future college and career goals and stronger determination to achieve those goals that participants demonstrated at by the end of that first year relative to when they started the program.  During the coming year, we are working with DVX faculty, administrators, and students to develop a playbook that highlights successful areas of the DVX program so that other charter management organizations, school districts, and/or community based agencies interested in building alternative post-secondary pathways can replicate and adapt the DVX work to their contexts.  The original study and the DVX playbook are made possible through a generous grant from the ECMC Foundation.

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Bridging the World of Work and STEM (funded by NSF)

In Summer 2017 The Jacobs Institute was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to bridge the world of work and informal STEM education. Through this grant, The Jacobs Institute will design, develop, implement, and test a multilayered STEM learning approach specific to STEM learning and workforce development in STEM fields targeting Hispanic youth. The STEM World of Work project will explore youth STEM identity through three mechanisms: (1) an assessment of their individual interests, strengths, and values, (2) exposure to an array of viable STEM careers, and (3) engagement in rigorous hands-on STEM activities. The project centers on a youth summer STEM enrichment program and a series of follow-up booster sessions delivered during the academic year in informal contexts to promote family engagement. Paramount to this work is the core focus on San Diego's Five Priority Workforce Sectors: Advanced Manufacturing, Information and Communications Technology, Clean Energy, Healthcare, and Biotech. Learn more about the project here.